Friday, December 28, 2012

Blog #6

Blog #6
Nicky Lei

I apologize for the super late entry. I thought I had wrote a blog #6, but it turns out that I didn't. The Be Green challenge was a very insightful experience. I'm really glad that I took this experience. I didn't think that I was going to make through the four weeks since I like to spend a lot. I've realized that I do spend a lot of my money on things that I don't really need. From this challenge, I found myself digging through my old things and seeing how I am able to reuse it. I began to knit scarves again. I also went to a thrift store for the first time to check it out. I was going to a friend's place and there was a thrift store on the way, so I decided to drop by. I always wanted to go to a thrift store but never had a chance to. They actually had some pretty nice stuff in there. This challenge has really opened my eyes. I've realized that many people in this world don't have the luxury of getting whatever they want. Many have to work extremely long hours just to make ends meet. In college, I'm noticing people's spending habits more and more. A lot of the times I hear stories about them buying all these things and in the end they don't even use it. It makes me want to tell them to go through this challenge. I think that everyone should go through this challenge. It will definitely open up their eyes and make them realize how much they're spending. It's been almost a month since the end of the Be Green Challenge and I am still careful of not spending too much. Whenever I'm about to purchase something I always ask myself if it's a want or a need. Most of the time it's just a want. The lessons I've learned through this challenge, I will remember and use them for the future.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Late Blog

Blog # 5

Kenny Saechao

Late Entry- I was reviewing my posts (I just got your sisweb message) and found out I forgot to do blog number 5. In hopes of at least getting partial credit I am going to wrap up some thoughts.

Around this time we had just finished Kawamura's reading and the Be Green challenge has come to an end. Finals were coming up and I remember my bank account started dribbling. This was weird because I noticed a bit extra cash ever since this challenge started. I realized that I was becoming very stressed and started eating out a  lot.
This made me think about my food consumption and how this "Be Green" challenge can transcend beyond not only new clothes but even food. This made me think about "freegans", something I just learned about. Apparently they are mainly New Yorkers whom mainly eat food that was going to be thrown away. They save money and waste by eating what others do not want. Some exclaim that people will throw away perfectly good fruit because of a simple blemish. Its interesting to say the least. I can see a lot of people bashing them for being "poor hippie new yorkers" but I come from a poor area and I think this is smart (maybe thats why?). Being green and not consuming things that stem from unfair labor production and commodity chains are bigger than just the clothing/fashion industry. In reality, every market that profit can be made from might if not already will contain some form of unfair labor production. Thinking critically about my life decisions and where EVERYTHING I interact with comes from makes me sort of sad.

Outside source:

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Eddie Truong
Blog #6

This week marks the end of the "Be Green" Challenge that we started about 6 weeks ago. In many ways, I'm very proud of myself for choosing to not buy anything extraneous during this period, but I think that I should extend the period of the challenge so that I can keep this streak going!

On the last day of class, I found it interesting that we went to a thrift store to buy some clothing. I was expecting to go anywhere to buy clothes, even though it was a fashion class. I went around the thrift store looking for some clothes to fit me. I'm not a very fashion-oriented person so it was an interesting challenge for me to find clothes that looked appealing to myself; I just don't have the sense for it. My friend found me a good jacket to wear and I contemplated buying it for the longest time. In the end, I chose not to buy it because I really didn't need the extra jacket. Even though the jacket would have been bought in a thrift store which resists commodity chains on some level, the "Be Green" challenge reminded me that I shouldn't buy anything that I really don't need, thrift or not.

I felt that I didn't get as much out of this challenge as my peers because I participate in less of a consumerist culture than others. I probably learned the most from the readings and connecting it to my thoughts about consumerist culture. I'm happy that I was able to stick to the challenge and I'll probably stick to this challenge on a more personal level so that I can check myself against consumerist mentality for as long as I can. I learned a lot from this challenge and from the class as well; there's so much to fashion that I didn't know about before and I have a new level of respect for this field.

Individual Agency in the Determination of Fashion Culture

Eddie Truong
Blog #5

It's week 5 and I'm starting to cave into pressures to start buying something. I think it was a bit arrogant of me to think that my life wouldn't change that much during the challenge. I was working on a student government elections campaign and I needed to buy ink cartridges to print out the flyers we needed. Instead, I bought ink refills, but I had to spend hours refilling each ink cartridge to be able to print out the number of flyers we needed. It was definitely a challenge to learn how to do ink refills, but it was definitely worth the time considering that I saved hundreds of dollars by attempting to refill the cartridges myself. I'm quite proud of myself for surviving this week.

I also started eyeing some clothes that would have looked really good on me. I had to go into my closet, look for clothes I didn't wear often, and wear different combinations of clothes to see if I could create a new style from them. Unfortunately, I'm not very stylistic so I just stuck to my standard uniform of shorts and a sweater. This reminds me of the way young, Japanese teens work to create their own brand of fashion that is highly revered in Asia (Kawamura 2006). In this way, Japanese teens developed a way of creative mixing and matching of contrasting eclectic styles (Kawamura 2006). I wish I had the talent or the eye for this kind of creative endeavor.

I'm so surprised at the many levels that fashion can enrich the lives of others. I loved watching the video of the Harajuku Fashion Walk since it introduces multiple levels of fashion frameworks that I don't normally see in the United States. I think that one needs to have a certain kind of daring nature in order to push the limits of fashion.

Inside Source 
Kawamura, Yuniya. "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion". Current Sociology. Volume 54(5): 784-801. September 2006.

Outside Source
Harajuku Fashion Walk #11 - Kawaii Japanese Street Fashion.

Nation-Building through Dress

Eddie Truong
Blog #4 

In the fourth week, I expect that this will be one of the more challenging experiences for this challenge. Because of the proximity of Black Friday and the hype of buying products, it may be difficult to keep this challenge if I find a good electronics deal somewhere. It might be best to just hide out this week and leave the house as little as possible.
On another note, the clothes we wear is a statement to others about a certain status or symbol. If I choose to wear shorts and a bro-shirt to an interview, it demonstrates the lack of respect that I have for the interviewer. On the other hand, if I choose to wear formal clothing, it also demonstrates how much I value the individual by taking the time to dress nicely for them. In the same manner, a dress or costume can be used to represent an entire nation. "It is sometimes said that the Vietnamese ao dai exists so that poets can read the wind. This saying captures the power of garment to evoke a mood, a mindset, and movement. The movement of cloth responding to natural forces. The movement of people courageously adapting their culture to historical circumstance" (Ao Dai Catalog, preface).

As a costume is used to represent the nation, the two become inextricably linked and connected to one another. In the video below, you can see the many different ways in which countries choose to represent themselves through the costume and the unique flair of each country is always captured by the costume.

Inside Source
Ao Dai: A Modern Design Coming of Age Exhibit Catalogue.

Outside Source
Miss Universe 2010 National Costume Presentation - Opening.

Global Slave Networks

Eddie Truong
Blog #3

During the period of the challenge, I've started to wonder about my previous reflection and why certain products are so cheaply made. In "Global Commodity Networks and the Leather Footwear Industry: Emerging Forms of Economic Organization in a Postmodern World" by Miguel Korzeniewicz, the author discusses the implications of multinational corporations that draw resources from one country to be produced in another and exported to the final destination. In particular, multinational corporations target the cheapest methods to draw resources, assembled the product and sell them in another country to gain the most profits. In this way, corporations are able to target the cheapest locations to cut costs and gain the most profits by selling them in a country that can pay for the finished goods. In this way, countries that need the monetary investments of the corporations often turn a blind eye to the human rights violations committed in order to earn a pretty penny; a strong example of this was exposed by the No-Nike campaign in Viet Nam where sweatshop workers were being forced to work in inhumane conditions (Valverde 2012).

These processes are transnational in nature and involve many stages of production across various countries (Rodrigue 2012). What is interesting to consider is that these processes are cheaper than having all of the modes of production be centered in one country. In this way, we need to look at the political economy and culture of each individual country in order to examine the influence of the global commodity networks (Korzeniewicz 1992). Valverde points out that these commodity chains hold a neoliberal form of domination, through multinational corporations, over third world countries (Valverde 2012).

Once I understood the implications of global commodity networks and how it links the fates of countries to each other, I was able to understand how multinational corporations were able to navigate the politics of each country in order to find the cheaper sources of raw materials and labor to achieve the greatest profit, often at the expense of others through human rights violations. It's a insidious process and I will think twice about buying knockoffs or products assembled from other countries.

The video is particularly interesting because it reveals that multinational corporations serve to decapitalize a country's resources, create inequalities around the world, exploit poor workers/communities/countries and creates dependence.

Inside Sources
Korzeniewicz, Miguel. Global Commodity Networks and the Leather Footwear Industry: Emerging Forms of Economic Organization in a Postmodern World. Sociological Perspectives. Volume 35, No: 2, pp 313-327. 1992.

Valverde, Kieu-Linh Caroline. “Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture and Politics of the Diaspora”. Philadelphia: Temple UP. 2012.

Outside Sources
Rodrigue, Jean-Paul. "Commodity Chain Analysis". The Geography of Transport Systems. . Accessed December 15, 2012. 

Consumerist Yearning: How Knockoffs Make it Too Easy to Consume

Eddie Truong
Blog #2

It's week 2 of the "Be Green" challenge and I don't feel like my life has changed too much. I suppose that it's because I've never had enough money to buy extra items that I don't need to change my lifestyle too much to meet the challenge.

When I do buy something for the holidays, however, I realize that I often go for the cheapest clothes in a department store so that I can look like I'm wealthier or at a higher status than what I actually am. I have fake, leather jackets that look relatively expensive and more than what a college student could probably afford. When products are so cheap, I have an innate yearning for more of the same items or to stock up on that particular item. It feeds into the consumerist mentality whenever those desires become reality and my money is used to buy these knockoffs, cheap imitations of original products. In "Knockoffs of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy" by Melissa A. Decker, we see that cheaper imitations of original products are so well-made that it's often difficult to distinguish between the real deal and the copy. There is a strong trend of cheap, affordable imitations that is easily accessible to more people with modest incomes. Decker reveals that fashion piracy has strong implications in the way that we destroy entire economies, continue to exploit more cheap labor, and decrease the overall quality of products worldwide due to the prevalence of globalization, the increasing interconnectedness of nation-states and global economies.

"Often the temptation for consumers can be too strong to resist, with many not understanding the risks and ramifications attached to this illicit industry. Buying a counterfeit handbag or pair of jeans, for example, might not be regarded as an illegal transaction - simply a cheaper way to wear the latest fashion goods. However, often little thought is given to how the money may ultimately end up in the hands of organized crime groups or how the industries that rely on legitimate sales suffer" (UNODC 2012). It's time for us all to be more conscientious of our purchasing decisions and how it affects not only our lives but the global economy.

This video has an interesting argument about the ways in which copying can actually be beneficial to the economy under certain conditions.

Inside Source
Decker, Melissa A. "Knockoffs of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy". 2004

Outside Source
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Counterfeit Goods: A Barain or a Costly Mistake"? Accessed December 15, 2012. 

It's Time for a New, Green Beginning

Eddie Truong
Blog #1

It's the beginning of the "Be Green" challenge and I'm not particularly concerned about the challenge because I often do not buy merchandise or participate in consumerist culture. I hope that I will be able to learn more about the effects of consumerism and be more conscientious of my purchasing decisions in relation to the global economy. Because it's the middle of Fall and it'll be cold, I'm saddened by the idea that I won't be able to buy more clothes to be warm; I think this is the time for me to be creative about my clothing options and learn to resist consumerist culture on different frameworks.

Whenever I think about fashion, I think about the ways in which symbols and ideas are translated into textiles and clothing. Most people buy clothes in order to represent themselves in a better image, perhaps one of wealth and luxury. In "Creating Identity, Defining Culture, and Making History from an Art Exhibit: An Unfinished Story: A Tribute to my Mothers" in Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture and Politics in the Diaspora by Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde, the artist Chau Huynh uses her imagination and history as the primary motivation in her art creations. In one instance, she uses the flags of North Viet Nam and the former South Viet Nam to stitch together a new creation which represents her own life experiences mixing the two cultures together. In the same manner, I hope to be able to be more creative about my own desires to express my ideas through clothing without needing to buy more goods. I need to learn to be more creative on my own and express my ideals through reusing materials/supplies.

On the other hand, I've been trying to read up on more interesting ways to reuse my clothes so that I don't need to buy any more items. With the internet, there are so many different ways that I can learn about being more self-sustainable and there are plenty of resources that I can depend on to help me get through this process.

Chin up! It's time for the "Be Green" challenge to begin!

Inside Source
Valverde, Caroline KL. "Creating Identity, Defining Culture, and Making History from an Art Exhibit: An Unfinished Story: A Tribute to my Mothers". Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture and Politics in the Diaspora. Philadelphia: Temple UP. 2012

Outside Source
How to Reuse or Recycle Old Clothes. Accessed December 15, 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Your Definition of Shopping

Racheal Rhee
Concluding Blog

inside source: Class time
Outside source: Field Trip

                     Fighting against Consumerism. Sounds so easy yet so hard to follow through. There were many temptations through emails contained with exclusive sales code, opportunity to shop til I drop with free shipping which would save me 'so much' money. But passed by those sugar coated temptations came reminder of Professor Valverde's strict reminders in class. " DON'T BUY ANYTHING". Yes ma'am, order has been taken. After a month of fighting against consumerism, it is eye opening to see how much the marketing system has developed their own ways of making the general population to feel like they have to be the consumer without any other option. Putting a price tag onto anything and almost everything was the beginning point. The exclusive sale deals on online shopping site (yes, i did go eye shopping..) was not so much different from regular day prices. At this point, it is obvious that clothing companies habitually attract consumers by the word 'SALE' with bright red color. Then came the Black Friday after Thanksgiving dinner. Online, outdoor stores.. They were ridiculous. As i posted on earlier blog about black Friday, it seemed as if the companies had price tags separately ordered only for black Friday. In modern terms.. Am I trippin? All of the commercials and photo shoots, blogs and journals in fashion industry and media entertainment subconsciously screams at the audience to go buy the clothing and material that are needed to catch up with the most recent looks. Oh you have the same looking coat? Why not buy two different color to match with your boots AND sneakers for different seasons? Oh you don't know what to get as a present for your friend? Why not get them fashionable scarf or shoes to make them happy?
                 When did world become a place where people have to be satisfied with materialistic products and presents? Even when I was ten years old, I remember family and relatives giving flowers and cards to each other during holidays. Yes it was very satisfying because getting something '$expensive$' was not always the point of giving a successful gift.
                 Shopping for self. Depending on who we are, we all individually have different perspective about shopping for self. I always thought that shopping meant going out to SF downtown, or big malls to find something that follows recent trend. However, my definition of shopping turned around after the be green challenge. For the last class of Fall quarter 2012, Professor Valverde and our class went thrift shopping. Say what? yes. THRIFT SHOPPING. There were many clothing that looked out of style and sometimes worn out. However, looking through the clothing forced me to trim down the selection to find that suits me perfectly, with 1/8 of the price I would have to pay in outlets or malls. It was an eye opening moment for me, appreciating the process of fight against consumerism. Not only was I saving money for the month, but I figured that I was able to save money in the long run thinking back to this challenge every time I go out shopping.
                  Dear Shoppers who love to spend money on products that you don't know will last you for life time but shop anyways because you feel like you NEED to shop! I suggest you try to follow up with the be green challenge. Not only your perspective will change, but your definition of shopping will also change. :]

Blog 6

Hue Thao
ASA 141

Today's blog concludes the challenge and the course Asian American Studies 141. During the last day of class, we attended a small field trip to All Things Right and Relevant over at East Davis. The purpose was to teach us to shop at places that doesn't involve all the tragic topics we learned in class such as labor intensive work. There was nothing in particular that I liked at this thrift store so I continued my streak of not consuming items. Although, we can't say everyone succeeded in this challenge because some people, if not most people ended up buying something throughout the challenge. It was difficult because of Black Friday Shopping, but at the very least, I did not fall victim to consumerism. For me, I won't buying anything unless I extremely need it. Most of the stuff I have now is all that I really need. Who cares about having multiple jeans or multiple sweaters and jackets? It really isn't needed. For those who does have multiple items, please be considerate for the lucky opportunity that you guys have. People complain that, they need more jeans, shoes, etc. all the time. However, in reality, they don't need it; they just want it. The one's who truly needs those items are those living on the streets of Africa walking barefoot and having one pair of rags for close. All I am saying is that people needs to stop taking things for granted. Stop complaining how you wore your shoes once and need a new one because you don't want to go out wearing the same shoes twice. Instead, you can donate a pair for those poverty children that are in need of shoes. Other than that, I end this discussion and blog by saying that I don't like blogging. Just kidding. All in all, ASA141 was a fun class as well as educational. But its time to move on and study for those finals so this is all that I am giving to you Professor. My essay is already completed and I will turn it in today, but I would prefer you revise it or look at it one last time so I can really turn it in. I already had tutors check over my papers so there should be less errors as there was last time. Take care and enjoy your Christmas Break. Thanks for everything.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog 6: Is That Your Grandma's Coat?

When I originally signed up for this class, I thought to myself, Asian American Studies and Textiles & Clothing hybrid class, this is going to be so easy. The first day of class, and my original perception was turned upside down. Totally not what I have expected. Professor Valverde touched on topics that have I found very refreshing, since my Textiles and Design classes rarely touch on Asian/Asian American fashion. After that first lecture, I was hooked, in a good way. 

The first third of the class was about looking at images, and testing myself on how strong my knowledge of fashion was, and I did excellent on the European/American section, but once the Asian/Asian American fashion images came on screen, I did not do so hot. Why did I not know these things? It bothered me for a while, and I realized that these images rarely come up in American pop culture, until recently, when Alexander Wang, Richard Chai, Phillip Lim, and Thakoon were mentioned in the pages of Vogue. As the class progressed, we talked about globalization, capitalism, diaspora. I found myself digging through my closet and looking at the condition of them, labels, and tags. A majority of my damaged items were from Forever 21. Surprised, not really after watching Made in LA film. I slowly started to see the politics behind fashion and the power plays it has in the industry, influencing what I buy as a consumer, and therefore shaping my identity expressed in my style. LIGHT BULB! 

When I started this be green challenge, or what I now dub "No-Buy November", I really had my doubts as to if i will survive this cold turkey style. Especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It will take a lot of determination to take me...

From this:

To This:

And I did get through it! I am so proud of myself, and thrifting has become more of a hobby for me now. I definitely have my favorite secondhand stores in the Davis/Sacramento Area. Which are...

Davis: All Things Right and Relevant, Boheme, and French Cuff Consignment
Sacramento: Bows & Arrows, and Crossroads Trading Co.

But besides all of that, I throughly enjoyed the discussions we had, and as I became more invested, the more I looked forward to going to class, and i put in more effort into dressing up for lecture. It was truly one of my favorite classes in Davis. I wish there was a Part 2 where we talked about beauty products, upcycling, and etc. 
Not gonna lie, I will miss this class and the people in it

- Krizia

Reflection of the Challenge

Natsumi Moudry
Blog 6
Inside Source: “Fashion as an Institutionalized System.”In Fashion-ology.

Reflection on the compact challenge: I believed that preventing myself from buying any new items would not be that difficult because I am generally not interested in popular stores like Forever21. I am a fan of clothing but the only stores near our campus is Forever21 and Gap. I believe that if I was in Japan it would have been a lot more difficult for me to follow through the challenge. I believe that if I was in Japan, I would be more tempted to buy items because there are generally lots of stores in Japan that are not big box industries. I believe big box industries do not sell clothing with much uniqueness, so I am generally not interested in their products. Japan has many small businesses and stores without a big name. America is filled with chain stores such as Forever21, H&M, etc.

Fashion in America relies on gatekeepers like magazine editors who control what type of clothing/ material items get displayed in magazines such as Vogue. The designers that are already known by the gatekeepers keep having their products published in the magazines, and continue being successful in their business. The designers who are invisible to the gatekeepers keep seeking to be discovered by the gatekeepers. These designers, whether the population may like their products or not, are not able to advertise their products as effectively (Kawamura, 41). I wish America had more small businesses, and not big name stores that only the designers approved of.

Update of the compact challenge: I really did not have a problem not buying any material items until this last week. My headphones stopped working in both ears, and I was no longer able to listen to my music. A lot of times I like to listen to music just to keep me concentrated on studying, so this week I purchased a new set of headphones. Although I am not addicted to shopping frequently, there are some items like my headphones that I feel like I need to have because I am so used to having it. I almost made it through the challenge, but unfortunately I did not.

I believe going to thrift stores like this week is a fun way to shop. I definitely saw some clothes that were made of better material compared to lots of clothes in the mall. I will definitely check out some thrift stores during winter break. The Youtube video that I posted shows a woman who went shopping at thrift stores. She shows that rather than buying items at big box industries, she can buy clothes at a cheaper price and higher quality. 


Sharon Lin
Blog #6
Be Green Challenge Reflections

            After a month of challenging myself not to buy anything I have realized a lot about the consumer society that we live in. I knew the challenge would be difficult but what I didn’t realize was my excessive need for the joy that comes with purchasing new things. While I tried to buy second-hand items, I realized that there is definitely a different type of feeling that comes with the purchase of a new item. With that realization, however, I also came to understand how brainwashed our generation truly is in regards to consumption. Although I failed my challenge on Black Friday, I realized that I had less of a need to purchase things that I had originally thought were necessary for this new winter season. I found myself examining my purchases much more closely and actually trying to make sure I needed my purchases before buying them. I also have learned set a limit on the amount that I want to spend on a piece of clothing and actually sticking to the limit.
             Unfortunately, after a month of not spending, I still went back to my spending ways. (I still cannot thrift…it still makes me too uncomfortable.) I still love my sales and still love to shop. In the future, I would love to try this challenge again…although I’m not sure that without a professor watching over our challenge I will be at all successful. It would definitely be a fun challenge to attempt with friends. Overall I truly enjoyed this challenge. Paired with the readings, I was able to really challenge my spending habits and understand where my clothes come from, and how I can be more aware of how, where and under what conditions things we consume are made. This challenge was a great eye-opener and I am very glad I took this challenge seriously.
            I really enjoyed this class and will definitely miss it. I learned so much more than I had originally expected to learn. I learned so much about the history of fashion and the relevance of fashion to activism. Fashion is so important in defining who we are and how we see ourselves. Social activism and our awareness of how we consume is an important part of fashion. I will take what I learn in this class into the way I interact with consumerism everyday. The discussions we had will continue to challenge me and push me toward making spending better habits. (PROFESSOR VALVERDE SHOULD TEACH  A PART TWO OF THIS CLASS SO WE CAN ALL JOIN TOGETHER AGAIN SOON!) 

Farewell ASA 141! You will be missed. 

Mean Thrift Queen

Be Green Blog # 6
Kenny Saechao
            I remember the first time I contemplated taking this class. My initial thought was “I have tons of style, this class will be a breeze” but in the end I took this class with Professor Valverde and nothing is ever easy when it comes to her. I was surprised by how much I learned- I never thought too much about sneaker culture nor did I realize there was a relationship between globalization/colonialization and the Philippines.
            This Be Green challenge was very validating in the sense that I’ve never been crazy about materialistic goods so joining a challenge that questions consumerism was nice. I never really denied consumerism for necessarily the same reason as this challenge but the two parallels were nice. I never thought about all the clothes that went unworn because of new products, I just bought old clothes because they were cheaper. Well, the price was nice but it is also for the idea that what I buy at a thrift store cannot be re-bought; what I wear from a thrift store is going to be worn by me only, the likely hood of someone else buying the same thing I’m wearing is so rare- as opposed to Forever 21 clothes.
I never really thought about sweat shop workers, it was always an out of sight, out of mind kind of topic.  I use to sew in high school so I know how tiring it is to sew; no back support (because you lean forward to sew better) for long periods of time can lead to chronic back pains, also the machines themselves overheat and get dangerous if used for too long. It strikes me as so sad how something as a luxury for me is a last resort to pay bills for many sweatshop workers. I’m reevaluating the way I see clothes and even the seam lines in clothes.
I have been known as the mean thrift queen among my friends. I can spot out what I do and do not like in a thrift store pretty quick. I’ve been looking for a color palette that resembles this picture:

It’s 3 pictures all put in one. I thought the color palette was absolutely gorgeous. For the last day of class I got a shirt that I feel really confident about. I look and feel amazing in it- and ultimately isn’t that one of the best things about fashion? I hate the idea of fashion being used to impress other people but damn sometimes people have to feel validated in their beauty one way or another; sometimes that means someone else validating you. I will continue on with my frugal lifestyle- I just can’t pay anymore than ~$10 for a t-shirt, it strikes me as ridiculous. Thanks for this amazing class, it was a little sad when I missed out on Black Friday but reflecting back on it now I don’t know if I will go next year. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The End of a Beginning - Blog #6


This is such a relevant class in the contemporary world, for it does not just focus on fashion, but also its sociological impact throughout history.  At first, I dismissed this class as something more arty-farty - that is, I thought that it would focus more on designs in fashion rather than what fashion is itself.  As time progressed, I found myself so engaged in this class - perhaps the material was easy to understand because it was so relevant to my immediate surroundings, perhaps the issues that we discuss are so similar to conversation, perhaps I knew I wanted to get within the inner workings of exactly what fashion is and how it can both make crazy nutjobs and mindless worker ants out of people.

Fashion, life, society - three in one.

The Prof claimed that everybody "dressed better" now that our class came to a most unfortunate close.  To be certain, I am more aware of how I dress, now that I have learned both the good and the ugly of fashion.  However, it doesn't mean that I dressed better overall.  Finals are looming, and I've been lounging around in my bed hair and comic-book pajamas all day for the past two days.  However, I claimed that I didn't care if I was a complete mess, I still unconsciously tried to tweak my rumpled sleepwear into something that was somewhat less sore to the eyes.  Hence the concept of "casual chic" continues on.  We all live and breathe fashion - it worms itself into all situations, regardless of whether we know it or not - regardless of whether we want it or not.

So we continue on, and spread our ways of expression.  We try to be different through fashion, but the thing is, so is everyone else.  It got me thinking: is fashion really an attempt at expression after all?  Or does it just merely reflect preference?


This class has also awakened a new love for thrift shopping in me - one can truly find some precious gems, and feel slightly less guilty about feeding the consumerism black hole while doing so.  Okay, maybe it wasn't so much as advocating anti-consumerism as much as OMG THAT SKIRT WAS 50 CENTS WHAT HAS THIS WORLD COME TO, but hey, the benefits still have to be good in order to fully jump into the cause, right?

Goodbye, dear green blog-that-has-a-scary-naked-dude-eating-himself-out-of-existence-wow-I-love-how-deep-it-is.  I will still stare at you from time to time and admire the sparks of passion from the future students that take advantage of the Be Green Challenge, of the class, and of fashion.

Peace out, homes -

Jing Mai

All Things Right and Relevant

Steve (Shing) Li Blog #6 Reflection

$16 Dollar Jacket Thrifting! But I didn't get it. :(

Walking into the first day of class I was very disappointed that my original class with Professor Hamamoto was cancel for the rest of the quarter and anxious that I would not be able to add another class to be a full time student. But looking at the class schedule I was able to find the ASA 141 class in the same time slot and class days as my original class that worked with my schedule!

I wasn't sure what to expect in a Fashion class but after sitting through a few classes of ASA 141 I saw myself surprisingly interested to learn more about the subject of fashion as an idea that is affected by social culture, economic times and identity. I truly enjoyed the class and the discussions that we had in order to see fashion in a different light and become aware of our addiction to consumerism.

In order to kick our colossal habit of consumerism out the door, Professor Valverde challenged the whole class to go  into a cold turkey anti-consumerism diet that prohibited the purchase of anything that was not essential (food, toilette's, etc) for 30 days. Coming into the challenge I did not know what to expect but after watching the film about the L.A Forever 21 workers mistreatment and also learning about the commodity chains and how big corporations are making profit by paying their workers very little oversea, I  was disgusted at the though that my hard earned money was going into encouraging these practices that are unethical and unjust. As a result, I was determined to keep myself away from retail stores and big chain stores.

Understanding fashion will be an ongoing lifetime process for me, but now that I have some understanding of about fashion I see the world around with different lenses. I take a second look at the clothes that individuals wear and appreciate their sense of style and uniqueness. Thus, I have learned a lot about myself, culture, history, and identity in my first Asian American Studies class here at UCDavis and I cant wait to see what other Asian American classes have to offer.

Personal note: I owe Jing $2 incase I forget!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bon Voyage ASA 141

Mai Moua Vang
Blog # 6

This green challenge is over and so is ASA 141.  In the previous blog I wrote about my feelings towards the challenge so in this blog I will write about my overall feelings for the course. Many people do not take the way we dress seriously, but really your clothing sends a message to others about your personality (even if it isn’t true) and people will judge you based on it. Clothing is so powerful and it can turn a country upside down and have people fall onto their knees because countries rely heavily on that industry for money. Clothing is so powerful that sales associate with holidays. Anyone can be a trendsetter regardless of gender, sex, age, race, class, and other ways you identify yourself. Fashion is not always about people dying, it can be a form of social activism and empowerment.

These are some of my thoughts of the course. Although the class has ended, I will continue using my knowledge about the things I learned in class and expand it through research and also my closet. Thank you peers and professor for your thoughts and opinions, they enriched the conversation. I’m a little down that I won’t have you in my class but you’ll be in my thoughts!

Good luck and happy studying!